Friday, April 17, 2009

The Circus Is In Town!

After spending some time at the Macy's Flower Show and Herald Square, we walked across the street to Madison Square Garden for the circus. We were pretty excited cos it's not just any circus, it's the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus!! It's supposed to be "the Greatest Show On Earth"! Not only that, we were excited about the location too. After the merge of the two circus in 1919, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey debuted at Madison Square Garden! This was where it all began :D

We expected a huge crowd, so we decided to arrive a little bit earlier to pick up our tickets. We bought them online earlier in the week and all we needed to do was pick them up at the Will Call ticket booths. That's way better than standing in line with the crowd to purchase tickets on the day itself.

Here are the tickets!! Woohoo!! There are actually three different tours running simultaneously nationwide. The one that we went to was the all new Zing Zang Zoom tour. The other two playing are the Over the Top and Boom A Ring tour. We managed to get a coupon code online and got a good deal on the tickets. Instead of paying over $20 per person, our tickets were only $8 a piece!! What a good deal. Check out our kidding :D

Once we got into the foyer, we were greeted with all kinds of bright colorful souvenirs for sale. From program books, DVDs, toys to candy floss and popcorn! Cheap "made in China" plastic lights that can be bought in China for probably $0.50 were selling for $15!! I bet they made more money from merchandise sales compared to tickets sales.

Here is Kevin buying some stuff from the concession stand. Look at the face of the lady. She must be thinking..."here is your change sucker..muahahahaha". We could also buy food and drinks from the MSG concession stands (equally expensive).

This is what Kevin bought. A snow cone in a plastic souvenir elephant, a huge box of popcorn and a large Coke. Let's just say the snack and drinks were more expensive than our tickets :P

At last, we headed into the arena. The best thing about this circus is that you are allowed to go down to the arena floor one hour before the circus starts to meet with the clowns and circus troupe! It's their All Access Pre-show. There were just so many things happening at once.

We got to see performers jump rope and do tricks on the low wires, watch the Chinese Qi Qi Har troupe juggle tables, meet the circus clowns and stilt walkers up close as well as learn magic tricks from Alex, the Zingmaster! There were also a lot of hands on participation for the kids. They got to be part of some of the acts as well as learn cool magic tricks. Here are some photos from the All Access Pre-show. There are also two wardrobe sections where kids and adults can try on clown costumes and get their face painted. There is also a clown school where you can basically learn how to be a clown :P The best thing is, everything is for free!

Check this out! The one of a kind special Ringling Bros. motorcycle custom built by the Orange County Choppers was also on display. Very cool!

The highlight of the pre-show was when they brought out Asia the elephant. Asia actually painted a really nice watercolor picture! Everybody was encouraged to enter the sweepstakes where you can win that painting! The winner's name was called out just before the main event started. No...we didn't win the elephant's painting :(

We headed back to our seats after the Elephant painting to enjoy our snow cone and popcorn. I managed to take a photo of the arena ( it still wasn't filled yet at that time). Our seats were at the same level as the blue seats. Not too bad for $8 tickets, eh? :D The purple seat folks paid about $50 for their tickets...hahaha!

At around 7:30, the show started! It was too dark to take any decent photos. The lasers lights, smoke effects as well as pyrotechnics didn't help either. I managed to find a video on YouTube of the opening act. It was taken in March when the circus was in Newark. It's pretty much the same thing, sooo...enjoy. (remember to turn off the blog background music)

Here are some of the photos that I managed to take of the animals that were not too blur or too dark.

The whole show was about 3 hours long, with a 15 minute intermission. For the price we paid for the tickets, it was a pretty entertaining Saturday evening. Was it the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus that I expected? Nope. Maybe I had my hopes up too high. Maybe I'm all grown up now and the magic of a circus coming to town is lost. I don't know. All I know is that yes, it was a good circus but it definitely wasn't the Greatest Show On Earth!

We had a fun Saturday never the less. It started with shopping and lunch at the Newport Center Mall, followed by the Macy's Flower Show and then the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus. Tired but happy, we await our PATH train at the 33rd St station to head back home!

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